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Oh brother. When I looked at this week’s slate of flicks there was a very real temptation to just write SKIP and come back next time. What a disastrously dull lineup we’ve got here. This week we’ve got swash-buckling, spying, hooping and some bumping in the night.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
The Three Musketeers
Anyone out there have dogs? When your dog takes a dump, just a regular old poop, you see it and realize it smells awful and probably wish there was a way to make it smell fresh and have a more pleasant-to-pick-up consistency. But you bag it up, throw it away and move on with your life. You probably don’t make small tweaks to the dog’s diet or change its food altogether to get a different outcome. i.e. You know that in the end, no matter what goes in to the dog’s mouth, the final result is just going to be a steaming pile of dog shit. If you realize this, then you would not make a good movie executive.
Once again movie executives don’t understand the dog poop analogy laid out so clearly in paragraph one. Instead they examined the poop (the relatively recent Three Musketeers with Sheen, Kiefer and O’Donnell*), greenlit a script and production for a newer, “glossier” piece of poop (remember, it still stinks and needs to get thrown away) and are now marketing this new thing as if we’ve never even encountered dog poop before. What a joke.
*For the uninitiated there are about 4,000 movie versions of The Three Musketeers. I am just presuming, using the “what have you done for me lately?” statistical model, that they all stink.
Dog shit proprietor and connoisseur Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil: Afterlife - 24%, Alien Vs. Predator - 22%, Death Race - 42%) does his best (which is usually far from good enough) to put a new spin on every twenty-first century kid’s favorite Alexendre Dumas tale. (Kids still read right?) He’s pumped this new version full of 3D effects, sword fights and Orlando Blooms all for naught because critics so far appear to hate it as much as we thought they would. And just one last time for good measure: poop. The Rotten Watch for The Three Musketeers is 27%.
Johnny English Reborn
Claiming someone is “reborn” implies the character died to begin with, which implies such a character ever existed which was basically news to me because I barely remembered Johnny English from the first time around in the 2003 movie. So imagine my surprise to find out he was back.
Rowan Atkinson’s deer-in-headlights, eyebrow-raising, subtle (almost wordless) humor is at least unique if not mildly annoying. Since his introduction as Mr. Bean, a hapless man-child whose dialogue usually consisted of some well timed grunts, Atkinson has basically played the same character in a variety of different settings and crappy flicks. In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine him as a real person in real life. Can he even hold a conversation for more than a few minutes or does he just revert back to his old buffoon character and drive away in a crappy yellow Mini Cooper?
Bringing back Johnny English to fight crime and “act confused” is another blatant example of an idealess industry reusing a character many viewers (I assume) did not know about in the first place. That being said, Atkinson does have his diehard fanbase (presumably the same folks who enjoy Wallace and Gromit and other early nineties British fare) so it’ll appeal to someone somewhere. Just not to critics. The Rotten Watch for Johnny English Reborn is 35%.
The Mighty Macs
All you need to know about this movie is laid out in the opening voice over of the trailer, in which the lead character explains all all she knew about Immaculata College was that it was an all girls school, the basketball team was awful, and the school was founded and run by nuns. If you make it through this sequence and still have even the slimmest desire to see this flick, then you and I are extremely different people. Like polar opposites.
The Mighty Macs tells the true story of the first women’s college basketball powerhouse in the NCAA, proving that we may be running out true life inspirational sports stories to pump out on to the big screen. And as if the subject matter wasn’t boring enough, check out the rest of this trailer. It includes such bombshells as, “the girls broke curfew!” and a girl quitting the team because basketball is “unlady-like”. Throw in nuns performing cheerleading routines, some super sick layups, the inevitable “little school comes out of nowhere and wins big” and you’ve got a movie heavy on contrived sappiness. (Oh, and it was originally screened in 2009 but is just being released - bad sign.)
First-time director Tim Chambers helms this “uplifting” story that critics and fans alike have seen a thousand times. I doubt we’re covering any new, or particularly interesting, ground. In fact, the movie looks to be as formulaic as they come. Underdog has no chance. Underdog gets better. Underdog suffers a big setback. Underdog rights the ship. Underdog wins big. Fans awake from their slumber for the closing credits. The Rotten Watch for The Mighty Macs is 37%.
Paranormal Activity 3
Got to hand it to Oren Peli. Dude took his video camera and a dream of scaring the living bejeezus out of movie goers and turned it into a franchise that’s grossed somewhere in the vicinity of $360 million worldwide with favorable critical reviews to boot. I want to get him, the guys from Netflix (prior to them alienating their entire clientele), and Danny Devito in a room to pick their brains on how to take very little upside and turn it into millions in profits and rave reviews.
Paranormal Activity (82%) was a huge hit while also making viewers physically ill in the theaters (win-win). Paranormal Activity 2 (59%) followed suit with a strong showing for a sequel. And now the third installment promises to reveal the “secret” behind all of the bumps in the night. Whatever the big reveal turns out to be, critics have jumped on board with strong reviews (currently at 83%). In fact, the Paranormal Activity franchise could be one of the strongest in the horror genre. That’s saying something for a film that looks like the one I made in eighth grade with a bunch of buddies (it was a kung-fu love story and it ruled).
And though Peli doesn’t direct this latest installment (those honors go to Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman - Catfish - 81%) its hard to imagine his vision isn’t the centerpiece here. That vision being some dude holding a camcorder while a bunch of horrifying stuff happens. The Rotten Watch for Paranormal Activity 3 is 77%.
Recapping last week
Another very strong week of predictions. In fact, competition must bring out the best in me because since Nate has come on board as a challenger, I’ve had some of my strongest weeks. Check it out:
Footloose (Predicted: 76% Actual: 73%)
The Thing (Predicted: 22% Actual: 33%)
The Big Year (Predicted: 42% Actual: 40%)
This week total score difference - 16% (Grand total difference - 45%)
This competition with Nate is neck and neck heading into the final week and I lost a crucial six points on The Thing suspecting it would be absolutely dreadful instead of just bad. Since the competition started I’ve been off by an average of about 5.5% per movie. That is some strong predicting. Nate is a tick better at about 5%. He’s a worthy competitor and thankfully he will disappear after next week. Here are his picks:
Footloose (Predicted: 74% Actual: 73%)
The Thing (Predicted: 28% Actual: 33%)
The Big Year (Predicted: 36% Actual: 40%)
This week total score difference - 10% (Grand total difference - 41%)
And Nate's predictions for this week: Paranormal Activity 3: 75% ; Three Musketeers: 23% ; Johnny English Reborn: 31% ; The Mighty Macs: 82%.
Next week Shakespeare’s exposed, Timberlake needs time, Puss is in boots, and Hunter S. Thompson is back. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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